“It was one of those things where you’re just confident in your skills, and you kind of just want to take it year by year,” Durant said at Warriors Media Day on Monday. “And I think to keep my options open, it was the best thing for me. “I could have easily signed a long-term deal … but I just wanted to take it a season by season and see where it takes me. And I think this whole year is going to be a fun, exciting year for us all, and I’m looking forward to just focusing on that, and we’ll see what happens after the year.”
There is some assumption that this is the best place for him, that he has thrived in the Bay Area, with his tech investments and all the winning, and that Durant’s ultimate decision probably will be to stay with the Warriors, who also can pay him the most. So why would he bolt? “I don’t think about it like that,” Green said when I asked if he’s wondering if Durant might leave after this season. “Also, I know I studied the business side of the league. I don’t just go play and say maybe my agent will figure it out or anything like that, like I studied the business side. “I could be reading it wrong. And if I am, I am. But me knowing the business side of things, I understand what he did. And we’ll see where it all ends up. But like I said we’re not going to enter this season saying K signed a one-year deal, what’s next?
One of those guys that’s coming up as a free agent was a free agent this summer. Signed a one-year deal, Kevin Durant. He could have signed longer. I think I predicted he’d sign a two-year deal to get a larger number. Any concern that he only signed a one-year deal and now he’s going to hit free agency? And he might hit it pretty hard next summer. Joe Lacob: That’s a two-edged sword, right? Sure, I think we would have liked to have had him be here longer, sign a long-term deal. On the other hand, we’re happy to have him. By him signing a one-year deal, it save us a little bit of money, actually, right? So, it allows us to do some other things. Like, maybe we wouldn’t have DeMarcus Cousins, right? As an example. KD’s been great. He’s my hero, man. He’s been a really good partner for us. He’s taken a little, as you know, a little bit of a discount over the last few years that has allowed to do a few extra things. I’m never going to forget that.
The Golden State Warriors star has an option in his contract that enables him to become a free agent next summer. Durant, 29, has been linked with moves to the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks heading into the season. The small forward has won consecutive NBA championships with the Warriors and it remains to be seen whether Durant wants a chance of scenery. And five-time NBA All-Star Billups has urged Durant to leave Golden State and win a championship elsewhere.
When asked whether Durant should opt to become a free agent next year, Billups told the Daily Star: “I hope he does actually, I hope he does. I really do. “I hope that he may have another Championship, then he can hop to be a free agent and maybe go somewhere else and help them win a Championship.”
What do you think percentage of Durant going to Knicks? He still seems to care so much about public opinion and have insecurities and this would be change to try and escape all the negative banter. Between him having chance to have his own team, Madison Square Garden, and Rich Klienman’s Knicks connections, I feel like this is similar to Lebron to LA. Ethan Strauss: @Trevor B. No clue of the percentage, but it's a distinct possibility.
Chris Mannix: "I think next summer, we are going to see a Kevin Durant free-agency tour. I think we'll see teams recruit him, maybe not the exact same way they did a few years ago, but in that kind of way. And if you start looking at potential teams, I know people like to connect Kevin Durant to Los Angeles, but I'm of the belief that if he gets his third championship, he's not going to want to play alongside LeBron James, Kevin Durant's gonna wanna be the player who eclipses LeBron James. You don't wanna go and play with somebody and help him win championships if you're on Durant level. You wanna be...the guy. I think that's gonna keep him out of L.A."
Jeff Goodman: "What about [his hometown] Washington Wizards [as a Kevin Durant free-agent landing spot]?" Chris Mannix: "He's not gonna go to Washington. He doesn't wanna play at home. That's been a long-standing thing with him. ... There would have to be a radical change [for Durant to consider it]."
Chris Mannix: "The relationship between Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City was never really torched. Oklahoma City always said the right things about him, and they always did right by him publicly. And the relationship between Durant and Russell Westbrook, while not being great by any stretch, is probably as good as it's been since he left Oklahoma City. So all those things are gonna factor in and make me think Oklahoma City will at least be on his list of possibilities [in free agency] next summer."
Knicks fans dreaming of a Durant signing next summer are hereby forewarned: It’s not inconceivable that he may actually choose to make Madison Square Garden home someday, but it’s extremely difficult to imagine the Silicon Valley-loving Durant doing so without playing at least one season in the Warriors’ new Chase Center palace in San Francisco, which doesn’t open until the 2019-20 campaign.
That’s what Yahoo Sports’ NBA insider Chris Mannix seems to think anyways. The belief from Mannix, who joined ‘The Herd’ with Colin Cowherd on Friday, is that Durant could be very much open to returning to the Thunder in order to help them to win an NBA championship. “I don’t think he finishes in Golden State. Look, after next season, he’s going to have $80 million in his pocket from the last three years and probably three championships,” Mannix said. “So at 30 years old, Kevin Durant is basically going to have a blank canvas. He can do whatever he wants knowing that his legacy is secure. There will be a lot of teams out there trying to recruit him. I think Kevin Durant wants to hear those recruitments. I think Kevin Durant will be open-minded next summer when it comes to where he wants to go. “But I keep going back to Oklahoma City. I keep going back to the fact that everything we know about Kevin Durant, the sensitivities, how much he hates the fact that people say he jumped on Steph Curry’s bandwagon, and the fact that there’s been no bridge burnt with Oklahoma City. The relationship with Russell Westbrook seems to be the best it’s been since he left Oklahoma City. I know that there’s some financial gymnastics you have to do to get a Kevin Durant on the roster, but I really believe come the end of the year, he’s going to take a long look at Oklahoma City.”
But that doesn’t appear to be in his plans. The past two seasons, Durant played under the same type of short-term deal, but regularly reaffirmed, both publicly and privately, his plan to re-up with the Warriors right when July arrived. This time around, he’s playing it more coy. I pressed him a bit on the 1-and-1 contract decision while in Vegas. He was very chatty about other subjects. He was short and purposely vague on this one. “Just felt like that was the right thing to do for me,” he said.
Asked about the trend of one-year contracts, especially for the top-tier stars, Durant said: “Because we know our power, know our control, want to do what’s best for us, more so than anything.” Despite a similar contract status during his first two seasons with the Warriors, does next year feel more like it’ll be more of an unknown, maybe like his final year in Oklahoma City, where the story chased him from city to city on the road? “I’m going to approach it like I always do,” Durant said. “Get ready for camp, take it a day at a time.”
Harrison Wind: Potential 2019 free agent Kevin Durant on C.J. McCollum’s @PullUpPod podcast: "I like Denver a lot, it’s super chill. Denver’s a fun city.” Here’s the full exchange -
Anadolu Efes is going all in for a big move for next season and has offered a $2.2M, one-year deal to Malcolm Delaney, according to Eurohoops sources. Delaney, 29, who spent the previous two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, also expects a big offer from China while he is still exploring his NBA options.
I have no idea. I do know that Rich Kleiman, Durant's business manager, is from New York. Scott Perry, New York's GM, was an executive with the Seattle SuperSonics when they drafted Durant and remains close with him. New York will obviously have company pitching Durant, if he hears pitches. (Golden State's new arena doesn't open until the 2019-20 season; who could blame Durant for wanting to play in it?) Those suitors will bring track records of basic competency the Dolan-era Knicks have rarely achieved. But New York will try. Next summer is going to be a whirlwind. Rest up.
Mark Medina: The Warriors officially re-sign Kevin Durant. Warriors have 12 players under contract & will be at 13 when Jonas Jerebko signs. They'll be at 14 presuming Patrick McCaw returns. Warriors likely to keep last roster spot open to save $$ and keep flexibility for next season.
Zach Lowe: "Kevin Durant is gonna be the single biggest story in the NBA for the next year now that [LeBron James has made his move to the Lakers]. And if you don't think that all of these teams - like if you think the Knicks noise is bogus, it's not. I'm not saying [Durant is going the Knicks], I'm saying they're planning their [next] offseason around him. 100 percent."
Durant’s deal with Golden State was interesting, if only because it puts him on the free-agent market again next summer, when everyone will have cap space and opportunities to team up with other top-tier players will abound. The decision sparked immediate chatter that Durant, forever sensitive to the (false) narrative that he simply hopped on Stephen Curry’s bandwagon, will pocket his third ring next season and look elsewhere.
Marcus Thompson: Durant has saved the Warriors a total of $15.6 million in space the last two years (before taxes)
Shams Charania: Kevin Durant has committed to a two-year, $61.5M deal to return to the Golden State Warriors, league sources tell Yahoo.
Bobby Marks: The Kevin Durant contract is for $30M and $31.5M with a player option in year 2. The $5M Durant savings this year now offsets the $5.3M tax midlevel if Golden State elects to use it. Durant would save the Warriors $20M in projected luxury tax costs.
Marc Stein: Kevin Durant plans to tell the Warriors after 12:01 a.m. ET that he wants a new one-year contract with a player option for 2019-20 to return to free agency next summer, @NYTSports has learned
Marc Stein: Durant is expected to be one of the first deals struck when the NBA's free-agent marketplace opens Sunday at 12:01 a.m. ET. Warriors GM Bob Myers has said repeatedly since Golden State's second consecutive title that Durant will get "whatever he wants" contract-wise
Marc Stein: The new deal would pay Durant $30.5 million next season and allow the two-time reigning Finals MVP to return to free agency in July 2019 -- three months before Golden State moves into the new Chase Center in San Francisco
Chris Haynes: Kevin Durant intends to sign a two-year max deal with a player option to stay with Golden State, league sources tell ESPN.
Something of note 12 hours before free agency: If KD takes another 1+1 deal (rumblings are it's heading that way), it would save the Warriors a ton in tax money. Salary next year would be $30mil instead of max of around $35.4mil. That would increase likelihood Warriors use MLE.
Marc Stein: Just to clarify on Kevin Durant: Friday's deadline compels Durant to opt IN on his $26.3 million for next season if he chooses, but league sources say he has already informed the Warriors that he will let the deadline pass quietly so he can become a free agent July 1
Durant has said repeatedly that he intends to stay with Golden State after the market opens July 1, with sources close to the process saying that an agreement on a new deal with the Warriors is expected in the early stages of free agency
During the interview session with team play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald, he stepped in front of Durant to handle his M.C. duties and said, “I’m gonna stand in front of KD; Before his Warrior exit, I want to enjoy as much time with him as possible.” Curry, who signed a five-year, $205 million deal last summer, could be seen shaking his head. Then when Fitzgerald kidded with Myers, who had told Durant he could have any contract he so desires, Myers said with a smile, “Yeah, that was just for the media. He can’t have anything like that at all…” Warriors coach Steve Kerr deadpanned: “Midlevel…”
Fitzgerald kept going. “Last year, you told Steph he could have any contract he wants, too, so…” he shot back. To which Myers said, “Yeah, that was different. He’s been here from the way before days. He’s earned it.” Fitzgerald, with the final shot: “And there ended the Warriors’ cohesion right there…” he said as the crowd reacted to all this awkwardness.
Kristian Winfield: Warriors owner Joe Lacob during parade on winning more championships: "I just spoke to Kevin Durant and he said we're gonna keep doing it." There goes that.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers expects swift negotiations to re-sign two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant and coach Steve Kerr. Durant could sign for as long as four years and about $160 million, and Myers is prepared to give him “whatever he wants.” Durant has said all along he wants to stay put, especially after winning a pair of championships in his first two seasons with Golden State.
Kevin Durant, the back-to-back NBA Finals MVP, told ESPN on Friday that he could see himself walking away from the game at 35 years of age, five seasons from now. "This game, your craft, you have to continue studying it," said Durant. "No matter how much you enjoy it, nobody wants to be in school that long. I know I don't. At some point, you have to be ready to graduate. Thirty-five, that's just a number in my mind." Durant, who turns 30 in September, could ink a four-year deal in July.
Rich Kleiman, Durant's business partner, said Durant had previously shared with him that he might walk away at 35. "I heard him say that, but I'll believe it when it happens," Kleiman said.
Melissa Rohlin: Bob Myers on KD saying he’s coming back: “Maybe I’m naïve but I never felt like he was leaving.”
Yeah, the next thing. You have Klay and Draymond down the road, and KD this summer. But do you feel like the argument -- the fact -- that this group has gone to four straight Finals is kind of a trump card over any possible object that anyone might have? Bob Myers: Winning is the only time you don’t have to answer questions. It’s the only time. Twenty-nine other GMs, you have to answer, ‘what if?’ ‘why didn’t you?’ Every coach, every player. You only get to have this emotion once, and it means you have to win. It doesn’t mean, though, that you have a perfect team or that you have a perfect life by any stretch. But for me, it means that you appreciate these guys, you try to keep it together, you thank the people -- for me, my family, my wife, the people that went on the journey with you. The sacrifice, the things that nobody knows about. That’s the part you try to keep your eye on. And as far as the group, you value the guys that helped you do it, the players, the coaching staff, people I work with in the front office. I don’t know. I think you treasure each moment with these people. Like I said, I mean, you’ve worked with a ton of people. They change. People come and go, for whatever reason -- some good, some bad. It doesn’t matter. It’s life.
For the Warriors, that is going to start being a very expensive proposition as Durant, Thompson and Green are all in line for massive new contracts in the next few years. Lacob said Friday night that he intends to offer extensions or new deals to all of them this summer.
What’s your understanding about Durant’s thoughts heading into free agency this summer again? Lacob: My understanding is he’s extremely happy, from both Kevin and his manager. So we have full expectation that he’ll be back. Of course, you know how I feel about this for all these players — they’ve earned the right to be free agents and we can’t assume anything. It’s our job to convince them to want to be with us.
All-Star forward Kevin Durant told ESPN's Rachel Nichols on Thursday that he will re-sign with the Golden State Warriors this summer. Durant is finishing the first year of a discounted two-year, $51 million deal with the Warriors that included an opt-out clause for the 2018-19 season. "I'm planning on staying with the Warriors, and we'll figure the rest out," Durant said, before adding that only the "small details" remained to be figured out.
One of Durant's options in the offseason would be to sign a four-year, max contract valued at around $158 million. He could also sign another two-year deal with a player option, or a three-year-deal with a player option after the second year. He and business partner Rich Kleiman are expected to go over the scenarios in great detail at the conclusion of the Warriors' postseason run.
“Yeah, yeah,” Durant said when asked if he would be back for next season. “I feel as though (I am). Everything, the money and stuff that’s got to, the contract got to (be) worked out, but I plan on being here. I said that earlier this year. I didn’t plan on anything else. But this is the NBA, and anything can happen. And I know that anything can happen, (because) I’ve been a part of this league for so long now.”
Tim Kawakami noted he wouldn’t have thought Durant would take such a big pay cut last year. Durant: Me either. But I thought that, at that time, it was a good deal. But that’s not setting a good precedent for me if I’m like, “Man, I’m taking 10.” Now, they’re going to start taking advantage of me. You know what I’m saying? I know it’s a business, too. So, I’ve got a business to handle as well.
Golden State Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant plans to decline his player option for the 2018-19 season and become an unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources told ESPN. His time on the open market, however, will be brief.
A nine-time All-Star and the reigning NBA Finals MVP, Durant will be turning down a salary of $26.2 million, a figure well below that of a player of his caliber, in order to restructure a new deal with the Warriors, sources said. Last offseason, Durant inked a discounted two-year, $51 million deal that included an opt-out clause. He took close to $10 million less than what he could have earned on a max salary. Agreeing to such terms allowed the team to retain forward Andre Iguodala and backup point guard Shaun Livingston.
ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks dissected Durant's options for this upcoming offseason. Option A: He can sign a two-year deal with a 2019-20 player option in which the first-year earnings would be $30 million and the option year worth $31.5 million.
Option B: He can sign a four-year max contract valued at around $158 million. His annual pay would be $35.3 million, $38.2 million, $41 million and $43.8 million. Option C: He can agree to a three-year deal with a player option after the second season.
But another Warriors name, a bigger, more influential star, is actually next up on the docket, yet he is always omitted from these discussions: Kevin Durant, who signed a two-year deal with the Warriors in 2017 with an opt-out this summer, is free to sign wherever he wants in four months. But no one across the league seems to even pretend like it's a possibility that he will leave Oakland. So it seemed wise, following the Warriors' shootaround in Atlanta on Friday, to approach Durant and check his pulse on the situation. The following is his conversation with The Athletic on this issue.
“Oh, you want to start this up?” Durant said with an eye-roll. Is this as foregone a conclusion as the rest of the league seems to believe it to be? “I'm not even thinking about that,” Durant said. “I'm here. I'm here. I ain't even thought about it.” To make it simpler: Is it 100 percent, in your mind, that you will be back with the Warriors next season? “Yeah,” Durant said. “Yeah.”
Ian Begley: Troy Williams on signing with NYK: "Great opportunity, great fit. Their interest level here was a little bit higher than everybody else’s." He's hoping for an opportunity to stick with NY: "Right now my main role is just being an extra athletic guy, run the court and defend.”
David Pick: Source: Former POR, HOU guard Tim Quarterman signed a one-month interim deal in China with Jiangsu Dragons while MarShon Brooks heads to U.S. for birth of his son.
The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors have re-signed free agents Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David West to contracts, the team announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreements were not released. Curry, 29, averaged a team-high 25.3 points per game (10th in the NBA) in 2016-17 to go with 6.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.81 steals (seventh) in 33.4 minutes over 79 games, earning All-NBA Second Team honors. The two-time MVP led the league in three-point field goals for a fifth consecutive year, following his NBA-record 402 threes in 2015-16 with 316 triples in 2016-17, including an NBA single-game record 13 threes on Nov. 7 vs. New Orleans. Curry upped his averages to 28.1 points, 6.7 assists and 6.2 rebounds in 35.4 minutes over 17 games in the 2017 postseason, helping Golden State capture its second title in three seasons. In eight career seasons with the Warriors, Curry owns averages of 22.8 points, 6.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.79 steals and is the franchise’s all-time leader in three-point field goals (1,917, 10th in NBA history).
Bob Myers touched on several topics but repeatedly turned the conversation to Durant’s decision to take a pay cut and sign a team-friendly two-year deal worth approximately $53 million rather than go for a max deal. That, Myers said, was the instrumental move in Golden State’s ability to re-sign key veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
“His gesture of taking less gave us the ability to be very aggressive in pursuing Sean and Andre,” Myers said. “I can pretty much unequivocally say without it, we’re not looking at the team we have right now. What Kevin did shows who he is, shows what he’s about and I think it’s clear that that’s winning. Without him doing that it would have been a different roster, and clearly to me, a roster that wasn’t as good as the one we have right now.”
“He did it on his own volition, which makes it that much more impactful and impressive to me,” Myers said. “He’s a max player for the foreseeable future forever. For him to do something like that is commendable. Without him doing that other sacrifices as far as roster would have had to be made.
Tim Kawakami: Durant took $6.8M less than he could've gotten from GSWs. Nick Young got $5.2M. Iguodala got $2M more per year more than last offer.
Kevin Durant will sign a two-year deal to return to the Golden State Warriors worth somewhere between $51 and $53 million with a player option in the second season, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been finalized. The irony? The rich get richer because Durant was willing to leave so much money on the table.
Durant, according to multiple sources, is not just passing on the new maximum contract he could get, which would start at $34.65 million. His plan is to also pass on taking the maximum raise he is eligible for, which would start his salary at $31.6 million.
Mark Deeks: EXTREMELY IRRELEVANT SIDE NOTE: Durant will now have the ability to veto any trade he is in.
Golden State Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant will agree to a two-year, approximately $53 million deal, league sources tell ESPN. Durant, who is an unrestricted free agent, will possess a player option on the second year, sources say. Sources say Durant would likely opt out again in the summer of 2018.
The 2017 NBA Finals MVP will be taking somewhere in the vicinity of a $9 million pay cut, being that he could have secured a max of $34 million. This act of selflessness is giving the Warriors every resource possible to recruit and retain talent.
Anthony Slater: Kevin Durant's $25 million salary is $9.5 million less than his max, $6.8 less than expected and $1.54 million less than he made last year.
Tim Kawakami: And the $31.8M salary for this coming season was a give-back itself, the 20% raise with non-Bird Rights, which is less than actual max.
Adam Lauridsen: Kevin Durant just gave up more than $10M to allow his Warriors teammates to re-sign at closer to their market value. Team first, period.
Albert Nahmad: Kevin Durant will be Early Bird next summer. Allows 75% raise (not over max). He’ll be eligible for max ($36M projection). Must be 2-4 yrs.
Chris Haynes: ESPN Sources: Kevin Durant will agree to re-sign with Golden State on a two-year, approximately $53 million deal, league sources tell ESPN.
Kevin Durant was drawn to the Warriors largely by the unselfishness he witnessed. In that spirit, his biggest assist might be coming this month. Durant, according to multiple sources, is not just passing on the new maximum contract he could get, which would start at $34.65 million. His plan is to also take entire raise he is eligible for, which would start his salary at $31.5 million.
Golden State now has $130M in guaranteed contracts that include the three-year, $48M Andre Iguodala contract and $31.8M projected Kevin Durant salary.
David Aldridge: Can still expect quick Durant re-sign in Golden State when/if Iguodala re-signs w/Dubs. Will still be 1+1 deal for slightly less than max.
Chris Haynes: ESPN Sources: With Kevin Durant technically a free agent, teams haven't reached out to gauge his mindset knowing it would be a waste of time
Kevin Durant declined to opt in for the second year of his contract with Golden State and will become an unrestricted free agent, an expected move for the NBA Finals MVP who said he plans to do his part to keep the core of the champion Warriors intact to chase more titles. A person with direct knowledge of the decision confirmed Durant's intentions Thursday, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made.
"Look for (Durant) to sign later in the month," one source said this week. Free agency begins at 12:01 AM ET Saturday. July 6 is the first day teams can sign players to new deals.
"Everyone expects this to be an easy process," one source added, noting how close Durant and Kleiman have become over the course of the past year with Warriors general manager Bob Myers, who Monday was named as the NBA's Executive of the Year for the second time.
Brian Windhorst: If Kevin Durant plays ball and the owners don't mind writing checks, they will. Durant's situation is a little complicated, but what you need to know is that if he's willing to accept a salary of $31.8 million for next season instead of his "max" of about $34.7 million, then the Warriors will be freed up to re-sign their key players. Durant has indicated he will do just that and the Warriors will be kept together, though Durant will probably take another one-year contract with a player option for next season for procedural reasons so he can recoup the money long-term.
Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant will decline his player option for the 2017-18 season and technically become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but he will re-sign with the team, league sources tell ESPN.
All signs, according to sources, point to Durant signing another one-plus-one pact, which carries a player-option at the end. With Durant opting to sacrifice, according to league sources, the Warriors would not need to create room under the cap to re-sign him and thus would not need to renounce their rights to any of their other free agents.
The 2017 NBA Finals MVP will turn down a player-option salary of approximately $28 million to momentarily hit free agency with the intentions of taking less than the max he's eligible for as a 10-year veteran. This is in order to improve the Warriors' chances of re-signing reserve stud Andre Iguodala, league sources told ESPN.
But Durant has given every indication that he will take the 20% raise in order to give the Warriors the flexibility to pay Iguodala and Livingston whatever salary necessary above and beyond the cap number. By doing this new 1 + 1, Durant would be eligible to receive a “super-max” deal of about $205M in July 2018 when the Warriors would have his Early Bird Rights.
“I feel as though I am going to be back here — no question,” Durant said. “We’ll all figure something out, work something out. I want to be here. We just won a championship, man. Let’s see if we can do it again. Feels weird saying that. But winning a championship is the ultimate goal. But it’s easy for me to say that now. Hopefully we get it done.”
November 23, 2020 | 11:35 am EST Update
Dario Saric has agreed to a three-year, $27 million deal to stay with the Phoenix Suns, agents Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. At 6-foot-10, 225 pounds, Saric can play the stretch 4 and 5 positions, averaging 10.7 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 35.7% from 3-point range last season.
JD Shaw: Orlando re-signs Gary Clark. “Gary showed that he has the ability to compete with anyone during the NBA restart,” president of basketball ops Jeff Weltman said. “He can both make shots and provide great effort on the defensive end. We are happy to have Gary return to Orlando.”
But he was on the treadmill at his gym on Nov. 16 when he saw a tweet come across his feed. “It’s not the way you want to know, especially my agent was talking with the team and they said my name was off the table when all the rumors and all the stuff happened,” Rubio said. “You feel like everything that they have said to you all year and buying into a new project and a young team and they need you, blah, blah, blah. It seems like nothing’s true.”
Rubio the rookie was so much fun, wind in his hair as he surged up the court with teammates’ eyes wide open knowing full well a pass could be coming from any angle when they least expected it. Rubio the veteran has been hardened by the business side of the game. There is an edge to him now, one that will help him hold players accountable and speak his mind when something needs to be said. “Things have changed. Ten years change your life,” Rubio said. “I’m a different player, but I’m a different man, too.”
“He’s the best scorer in the draft and could be an immediate producer in the NBA with his versatility and skill set,” says a pro scout. “Defensively, he has the tools and physical profile to be effective, but he was undisciplined and missed assignments. Edwards showed a lack of commitment at that end of the floor.” Edwards thinks the answer to this is simple: focus. He points to the Michigan State game. “If I put two halves together, then I’ll be different,” he says. “If I get that, then it’s over with.” And what’s holding him back from doing that? “Nothing,” he says. “I just don’t be prepared.” In the NBA, he promises, that will change.
“In the middle of all that, Bob Myers is sitting next to me and he says, ‘a 911 call from Klay’s agent,’” Lacob told me Thursday on my podcast. “And I looked at him, I said, ‘what?’ And he picked up the phone and I could tell there was a problem and then he walked off to talk to him I think more privately, there were a lot of people in the room. And that’s when it happened. “He came back in. I mean, just devastating news for him and for us as an organization. Of course, it put us all in a situation where we had to react really quickly, not panic. But certainly we could’ve decided to change our approach literally two hours before the draft based on imperfect information. Not knowing exactly what had happened or how bad it would be.”
“First of all, we would never do that, as you know,” Lacob said. “We didn’t try to bag last season. Some really bad things happened and unfortunately, we were really bad; we have to admit that. And we wound up with the second pick in the draft, which I think is hopefully a transformational pick for our franchise. “But I can tell you when this happened and we thought what the consequences might be, if the injury was as bad as we thought, two hours before draft night, I thought about it for about 15 minutes. And then I got everybody together in the war room right before the draft and I addressed them. Bob also addressed them.